A lyrical, moving novel of the choices and confusions that face a married woman whose understanding of herself explodes on first contact with the energies of China and a Chinaman.
Grace Hoffmeier is never quite sure where to invest her energies: in her dying marriage to star scientist Walter or in the possible affairs that flare so startlingly before her like fireworks; in her work or in her home; in things or in people; in the past or in the future.
On an eye-opening trip to a China that has ripped itself apart, yet again, at its very heart in Tiananmen Square, Grace finds - with guidance from unexpected quarters - that what you can choose between is not always your choice to make. The real China soon crackles into being before Grace; its fire and light illuminate for her paths old and new, and a new life in a new kingdom.
Andrea Barrett lives in Rochester, NY. She is the author of five novels, and two collections of stories, Ship Fever, which won the National Book Award in 1996, and Servants of the Map, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003.